Passing out after ingesting something is not generally considered a healthy response. Sure, maybe that ninth shot of well tequila seemed like a good idea after, well, shot number eight, but waking up in an elf costume and realizing you've shotgun-married someone 45 years your senior spells trouble more often than not. And where the hell did all of those half-full tubs of margarine come from?
But Randy Schmitz, a 30-year-old man from the Chicago suburb of Orlando Park, is more than happy that he lost consciousness following a taste-test of hot sauce. Otherwise, he claims, doctors might not have discovered his brain tumor.
While visiting Myrtle Beach in South Carolina last summer, Schmitz and his family decided to visit a hot sauce store known as Pepper Palace. There, he and his sister decided to take the "Flashbang" challenge—a quick taste of Pepper Palace's spiciest hot sauce. According to the company, its Flashbang sauce contains some of the world's hottest peppers, including Carolina reaper, bhut jolokia, scorpion, and habanero peppers. People who attempt the challenge must sign a waiver beforehand.
Shortly after tasting a drop of the hot sauce from a toothpick, Schmitz began to feel ill. "I stepped out of your store and sat on a bench right outside," Schmitz wrote in a letter to the company. "The next thing I knew I had woken up on a stretcher in a hospital room, covered in vomit."
Schmitz was informed that he has suffered a seizure and was then given an MRI, which revealed an early-stage growth in his brain. He then flew back to Illinois, where doctors extracted a malignant tumor the size of a golf ball on his left frontal lobe; that was followed by a course of radiation and chemotherapy. Schmitz, who got married just a few weeks after the discovery, says that he is now cancer-free.
The Chicago Tribune spoke to Jeffrey Raizer, medical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, who said that while a link can't be proven between the hot sauce and Park's seizure, the shock to Schmitz's system could be a precipitating factor. "If you have a lot of hot sauce and you're sweating a lot, people can have dehydration and it can cause seizures," Raizer told the Tribune.
But Schmitz's feeling on the matter is unequivocal. "I really believe this hot sauce giving me the seizure ended up saving my life!!!!!" he wrote in his letter to The Pepper Palace, which published the note on its website.
You can't buy that kind of advertising, can you?